Free Press Journal

Order to shift top cop probing hotel raids put on hold



Mumbai: The Maharahstra Government has put on hold the transfer of the police officer probing the hotel raids incident in north Mumbai within hours of issuing the orders on the ground that his services are required in the metro during the Ganapati festival next month.

Additional Commissioner of Police Fateh Singh Patil, was in-charge of north Mumbai, where police raided hotels and arrested around 61 people who were booked for “indecency in public.” The August 6 raids were carried out at hotels in north Mumbai leisure spots Madh Island and Aksa beach, an act which triggered widespread public outrage and led to accusations of moral policing and intrusion into privacy of individuals and consenting adults.

Patil, who was asked to probe the incident, was yesterday ordered to move to Nanded in Marathwada region as Deputy Inspector General (DIG), giving rise to speculation that he was shunted out in the context of ‘moral policing’ row. However, in a late night development his transfer was put on hold by the Home Department, which comes directly under Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

“We have not suggested anything to Police Department. Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria wants Patil to continue in his post till at least the Ganpati festival (in mid-September). Thus, he might not be shifted to Nanded immediately,” an official in the Chief Minister’s Office told PTI today. A Home Department official, requesting anonymity, said security agencies are on high alert for the upcoming festival season and also in view of the July 30 hanging of 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts convict Yakub Memon.

“In such a scenario, it was not advisable to transfer Patil immediately,” the official said. Patil had taken charge of the north region just three months ago. So, speculation was rife that his abrupt transfer was due to the hooch tragedy in Malwani (an area that falls under his jurisdiction), which claimed over 100 lives, and also on account of the hotel raids.

However, the Government clarified that Patil was transferred on administrative grounds and the it was not linked to recent incidents in area under his supervision. Holding that Patil’s transfer had nothing to do with these incidents, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K P Bakshi said he was shifted to Nanded as the area required an Inspector General (IG) rank officer for a long time.

The post of IG was downgraded to DIG level for Patil, he said. Home department officials said that the post of IG has been lying vacant since the last one year.